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Bone Miner. 1989 Apr;6(1):77-86.

Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis: is the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate a candidate?

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Glostrup Hospital, Denmark.


Thirty-nine postmenopausal women (aged 55-75 years) with at least one osteoporotic fracture were allocated to one year of treatment with the anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate (50 mg i.m. every 3 weeks) or placebo injection. Both groups also received a daily intake of 500 mg calcium. Thirty-six women (92%) completed the study. In the nandrolone decanoate-treated group the fat corrected bone mineral content in the proximal part of the distal forearm (measured by single photon absorptiometry) showed a significant increase of 3% compared with placebo (P less than 0.01), and the same tendency was seen in the bone mineral content of the distal part of the distal forearm and density of the lumbar spine (measured by dual photon absorptiometry). However, this did not reach significance. In the placebo group all bone mineral measurements remained unchanged. The biochemical estimates of bone formation (plasma bone Gla protein (BGP), serum alkaline phosphatase) and whole body retention (WBR) of 99mTc-diphosphonates were not statistically significantly changed by the nandrolone decanoate therapy. We conclude that treatment with nandrolone decanoate does increase the bone mineral content; however, this may not be due to a direct increase in bone formation. The mechanism may theoretically be a combination of decreased bone resorption and increased muscle mass, which both play a beneficial role in conserving bone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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